Virginia and Maryland [pronounced Mary Land]
10/28/2007 - 11/05/2007

Paul Ridenour

Click refresh if all pictures do not appear

Earlier this year, Dottie and I went to Wabash, Indiana, to see the land and graves of my 3rd great grandparents David and Sarah (Shauver) Ridenour, then over to Knox Township, Jefferson County, Ohio, to see the land, church, and graves of my 4th great grandparents David and Margaret (Wiles) Ridenour.  Another purpose was to find out more information on my two David's to help me become a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, which happened in September 2007.  We also spent a couple of days in Niagara Falls, Canada.

This week was originally going to be spent in Costa Rica, but we decided to take a trip to Hagerstown, MD, the home of my 6th great grandparent's Nicholas and Rosina (Kershner) Ridenour and my 5th great grandparent's Mathias and Eve Ridenour.  We wanted to visit the church they founded and try to find out more information about them, including why there is no record of their place of burial.  The home of John Hager of Hagerstown was also something I have been wanting to see.  He is supposed to be a brother-in-law of Nicholas Ridenour, since they both married Kershners.

We have been to DC several times but have never seen the World War II Memorial or the Native American Museum.  We would also visit family churches in other Maryland counties.  This trip was going to be about the American Revolution, colonial America, Hagerstown, DC, and family.

SUNDAY  October 28

Left Dallas about 6:30 PM and spent the night east of Little Rock, AR.  We arrived at the hotel about 11:30 PM.

MONDAY October 29

Drive about 15 hours and spent the night in Waynesboro, VA.

TUESDAY October 30

Visited Monticello ($15 a person).  Thomas Jefferson loved music, science, archeology, clocks, fine foods, and books.  He had over 7,000 books.  He was upset when the British burned the White house because of all of the books.  He donated his 7,000 books which would become the National Library of Congress.  He would also purchase another 2,000 books.

He loved the Natural Bridge in VA.  He bought it and 157+ acres for 20 shillings ($2.40) from King George III of England on 7/4/1774 and took his family there on several occasions.  George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge and his initials are carved in the rock wall.

Jefferson loved to eat and he hired a French chef who taught his slave Peter Hemings to cook.  He called all pasta "macaroni" and especially liked it when added with cheese, now known as macaroni and cheese.

We ate lunch at The Ordinary at the Michie Tavern.  I had the original CFC - Colonial Fried Chicken.

Afterwards, we drove on Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park ($15 a car).

Spent the night in Hagerstown, MD.

Thomas Jefferson's home "Monticello" - near Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson's grave at Monticello - Author of the Declaration of American Independence, Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia - no mention of him being the President

Jefferson did not like being president where "one loses a friend a day"

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA - north of Waynesboro, VA

Skyline Drive

Saw 44 deer on the Skyline Drive including four bucks

Some kind of bee - Skyline Drive

Ladybird Ladybug - Skyline Drive

Dottie at Skyline Drive

WEDNESDAY October 31

Spent the day in Hagerstown starting with a couple of churches, then John Hager's house, and finally the local library.  We drove down Ridenour Rd. and had dinner at The Red Horse in Frederick, Frederick County, MD.

Joann Parker of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church gave us a booklet that listed all of the graves that were moved so that the new building could be built.  Over 126 graves were moved to the Rose Hill Cemetery.  That caused a rift in the church with members leaving and forming the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church circa 1868.  Joann gave us a nice tour of the church.  Rose Hill Cemetery told me that all of those gravestones and bodies were put into one mass grave.

We visited the Hagerstown Historical Society and made copies of some Ridenour information.

John Hager's first house Hager's Fancy, still exists.  The John Hager House and museum costs $3 a person.  The house has furniture, period pieces, and tools dated 1654 to the early 1800s.  His second house, Hager's Delight, is basically the Wal-Mart and his last house in Hagerstown is now basically the Elizabeth Hager Visiting Center and surrounding shops.

Captain John Hager acquired about 10,000 acres and he sold a lot of it to my Ridenour family.  Mathias Ridenour is said to have had 3,000 acres in Hagerstown, per the John Ridenour book.  Dottie said that John Hager was "the Rob Whittle [a developer in Rockwall, Texas] of his time." Mathias' father Nicholas Ridenour had 100 acres called Ridenour's Pond, deeded to him by the last Lord Baltimore.

After Nicholas died, his son and heir Nicholas Ridenour III sold "Ridenour's Pond" to his brothers Mathias, Henry, and David Ridenour by agreement of Sept 21, 1761, and another of July 4, 1761, which was never recorded.  Mathias and Henry sold Nicholas' land in Salisburg called "Dawson's Strife" for 30 pounds, witness: Jonathan Hager.  "Nicholas Ridenour's Pond" adjoins a small road leading from John Thomases' land toward George Castner's, about five miles south of Conocoheague, with all rights and benefits (royal mines excepted) in the Manor of Conocoheague.  Nicholas was deeded the 100 acres by Lord Baltimore on Aug 22, 1743,  Western Maryland Genealogy, Vol. 3, Number 4, October 1987, Washington County Deeds, Liber C, page 182.

I picked up four Ridenour [Mathias, Nicholas, and David Ridenour] land deeds at the Hagerstown Courthouse.  Previously, they sent me the Will of Mathias Ridenour.  The original supporting documents of the Will can be found at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, MD.

Elizabeth Howe was kind enough to let us in the Western Maryland Room at the Washington County Free Library so we could do some Ridenour research.  The room is closed on Wednesdays but they made an exception for us.  I found some more Ridenour information.

We spent the night in Pentagon City, VA, at a terrible Best Western for $120 - no A/C and the TV sound did not work.

The old Faith Chapel - Hagerstown, Washington County, MD - the county seat

Pastor Robert Ridenour refused to let New Ager and actress Shirley Maclaine film here several years ago.  Mr. Ridenour is now deceased and the church is currently named Bridge of Life.

Hagerstown, MD - founded in 1762 as Elizabethtown by John Hager for his wife Elizabeth Kershner - a nice German town

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church [
the old Evangelical Lutheran Church] - Hagerstown [old Elizabethtown], MD

My 5th great grandparent's Mathias and Eve Ridenour's children's birth dates are listed in the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Elizabethtown, now Hagerstown, MD - Washington County Maryland Church Records of the 18th Century by F. Edward Wright, page 1.  My 4th great grandfather David Sr. is unnamed but entered as
--- of Matth. Reitenauer and his wife b. Nov 20 1775

Original church records at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD

Church Articles, Evangelical Lutheran Congregation at Elizabethtown [now Hagerstown], Frederick County [now Washington County], signed Dec. 16, 1770, by sixty church members/founders including Matthew Reitnauer (Mathias Ridenour), Henry Reitnauer, David Reidenauer, and Michael Reutenauer (most likely Nicholas Ridenour), Records of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hagerstown, Maryland, Volume 1, copied and presented by Mrs. Warren D. Miller, Historian, Conococheague Chapter, DAR, of Hagerstown, Maryland, presented through the Genealogical Records Committee of the Maryland State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, page 7, Western Maryland Room, Washington County Free Library, Hagerstown, MD

Martin Luther in the men's bathroom at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church

Inside St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church

Inside St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church - original door between these two windows

Zion Lutheran Church, Hagerstown - founded by John Hager - original building between the tower and the back building. 
The church has merged with the Reformed United Church of Christ and now known as Zion Reformed United Church of Christ.

Captain Jonathan Hager's grave behind Zion Lutheran Church

Mathias Ridenar, his brothers Peter Ridenor and Nicholas Ridenor, were on Captain Jonathan Hager's Muster Roll during the French and Indian War (from 10/9/1757 to 4/26/1759) as part of the Maryland Militia, in service for six days, undated - Colonial Soldiers of the South 1732-1774 by Murtie June Clark, pages 106-107

John Hager's wife Elizabeth Kirschner Hager's (normal spelling is Elizabeth Kershner) grave behind the church

What is left of the graves of the only Ridenours buried behind Zion Lutheran Church - George Ridenour 1812 - 1889, Ann R. Ridenour 1831 - 1893, and Elizabeth Ridenour 1882 - 1890

Also buried in this cemetery is the Henry Schnebley family

All descendants of Mathias Ridenour [Matthias Reitenower] can join the DAR and SAR as he gave grain to the army and signed an Oath of Fidelity and Support (Allegiance) in 1778 - sworn by Henry Schnebely [Henry Schnebley].  Mathias' brothers Peter [Peter Rietenawer], Henry [Henry Reitenower], and Nicholas [Nicholas Rietenower/Reitenower] also signed oaths of allegiance - sworn by Henry Schnebely - Revolutionary Records of Maryland, by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh and Margaret Roberts Hodges, pages 19-20 and Revolutionary Patriots of Washington County, Maryland 1776 - 1783, by Henry C. Peden, Jr., page 308

John Hager's first house called Hager's Fancy, Hagerstown, MD - circa 1740

Hager's Fancy was built over two streams, so that the house always had running water, no Indians could poison it as the water flowed in the direction away from the house, and no worry of being killed by an Indian while getting water

At the Hager Museum, we bought "What God Does Is Well Done" - The Jonathan Hager Files by John H. Nelson.  In the book, Peter Ridenour bought 100 acres for 100 pounds called "Peter's Lot" from Jonathan Hager on 4-26-1766.  Mathias Ridenour bought Lot #33 in Elizabethtown (now Hagerstown) from Hager on 3-12-1768.  Henry Ridenour bought Lot #11 from Hager on 3-12-1768.   Lots were generally 1/4 acre and sold for one shilling. 

Western Maryland Room inside the Washington County Free Library, Hagerstown  -  hours vary

Ridenour books (John Ridenour, Ken Ridenour) and Ridenour genealogy/information on the table

My George T. Ridenour Family of Texas book in the Western Maryland Room - sent to them in 1990 [has several errors]

Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown, MD - established 1866

The large gravestone to the right of the tree is for a Clarence W. Owen - the empty area [Section D, Plot 116] is the mass single grave for the moved graves of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church - no marker of any kind in this area

Mathias Ridenour and his father Nicholas Ridenour may be buried under St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, in this mass grave at Rose Hill Cemetery, or perhaps on their land.  I will never know.  Many of the original gravestones at St. John's were unreadable even before they were moved to this mass grave.

Corner of Ridenour Rd and Crystal Falls Drive near Hagerstown

Ridenour Road near Sue Rudy Run, south of Hagerstown at I-70 and the 66 exit - no sure what Ridenour the road is named after

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Frederick, Frederick County, MD

The first time Mathias Ridenour is mentioned is in Maryland in 1749 when he sponsors his brother Henry's son Mathias' baptism -  Maryland German Church Records, Volume 3, Baptismal Records of The Monocacy Lutheran Congregation, and its successor, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Frederick, Frederick Co., MD., Baptisms 1742 - 1779, translated and edited by Frederick S. Weiser, page 11

THURSDAY November 1 (Our 21st wedding anniversary)

Started the day by going to the WWII Memorial.  Found friend Gary Malone's father Walter J. Malone (US Navy - from Texas) in the online database at the memorial.  We also saw Dottie's relatives - D. Shelton Berryman and David Shelton Berryman.  Gary's brother Larry Malone bought a brick for their father and Gary asked me if I found it.  There are no bricks.  It was a scam.  A guy who had his picture taken with Sen. Bob Dole used it to sell bricks.  He made millions and fled the country.

We walked around the area to the Korean Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial.

Dottie was recently accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) so we visited the DAR Library and Museum.

The Native American Museum building was more impressive than the contents of the museum.  If I would have planned it, I would have had rooms full of history instead of mainly beads, clothes, and baskets.  I would have had every painting of a Cherokee by Charles Bird King.  I would have made it as big at the Museum of Natural History.  Of course, that all depends on the financial resources.  We were not impressed like we thought we would be.

I have never been to the Iwo Jima Memorial.  We stopped at the memorial where I took a bunch of pictures and met three nice ladies who are sisters.

After visiting the Air Force Memorial and shopping at the mall in Crystal City, VA, we met my first cousin [from California] Jeff Pfiffner and his fiancÚ Erin for dinner.

We drove late to Queen Anne's County and spent the night near Centreville, MD.

World War II Memorial - DC

World War II Memorial - DC

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR ) Museum and Library - DC

DAR Library

Vietnam Memorial - DC

Lincoln looking at Dottie - Lincoln Memorial - DC

Lincoln Memorial - DC

Lincoln Memorial - DC

Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument, and the Capitol building - DC

Korean War Memorial - DC

Native American Museum - DC

Native American Museum - Cherokee history section

Capitol building - DC

Iwo Jima Memorial - DC

Photographer Rebecca Masland (middle) and her sisters - Iwo Jima Memorial

Air Force Memorial - Arlington, VA

Air Force Memorial - Arlington, VA

First cousin Jeff Pfiffner and fiancÚ Erin - his mom is my dad's sister Linda Ridenour Pfiffner

FRIDAY November 2

Visited St. Luke's Episcopal Parish in Church Hill, MD.   A nice lady named Patricia opened the church for us and gave us a tour.  We also bought a $3 book on the history of the church.  I have relatives that were married in the church.

In Centreville, where the oldest courthouse in Maryland resides, we had an excellent lunch at Julia's.

We decided to skip the Naval Museum and Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, MD.  That would have made our trip a day longer and we might not have had the opportunity to see the inside of the church mentioned below.

Drove to All Hallows Parish in Birdsville, Anne Arundel County, MD.  A woman who was working in the church office opened the church for us and gave us a book on the church history.  Dottie has relatives that were married in the church.

Spent the night in Williamsburg, VA.

St. Luke's Episcopal Parish, Church Hill, Queen Anne's County, MD - founded 1728 and the oldest brick church in Maryland

First known Seago in America was John Seago born 1715 who married Margaret Birmingham in this church in 1740 - my 7th great grandparents

Original church records at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD

Seagoville, TX, named after a Seago descendant

St. Luke's Episcopal Parish/Church, Church Hill, MD

St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Church Hill, MD

Inside St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Church Hill, MD

Wooden tablets of the Ten Commandments inside St. Luke's Episcopal Church, given from the fund called Queen Anne Bounty - tablets older than the church

Queen Anne lived from 1665 - 1714

All Hallows Parish [All Hallows Episcopal Church], Birdsville, Anne Arundel County, MD - founded 1692


Dottie's 5th great grandparent's Thomas McNeir and Ann Nancy Burgess were married in this church on 10/1/1765

Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD, shows: McNair, Thomas; 1 Oct 1765; Anne Burgess ("Marriage Register of Rev. David Love," discovered by Peter Wilson Coldham in the Public Record Office, London: PRO: AO 13/61 (II)/420ff.)


Anne Arundel County Church Records of the 17th and 18th Centuries, F. Edward Wright, page 59

Buried in the front right of the church is Maryland Deputy Governor and Colonel William Burgess (1622 - 1686) who married Ursulah Moore.  Williams may be a 2nd great grandfather of Ann Nancy Burgess.  Buried next to William is his son William Burgess (died 6/28/1698 at age 25) and his daughter Anne Burgess (10/7/1680 - 7/25/1697) who married Thomas Sparrow.


Inside All Hallows Episcopal Church

Birthplace of James Madison, King George County, MD [markers in front of Emmanuel Episcopal Church]

Emmanuel Episcopal Church - I was surprised to see several Jetts (my family name) buried in this cemetery - Hallie Mitchell Jett (1863-1955), Ethel Newton Jett (1867-1963), Dr. Wm. N. Jett  (William Jett 1825-1902), Virginia Mitchell (Virginia Jett 1832-1873) - wife of Dr. Wm. N. Jett, Mary Landon Jett (died 1923), and Carrie Turner Jett  

Secretariat's birthplace

Secretariat's birthplace

SATURDAY November 3

We spent most of the day in Colonial Williamsburg ($36 a person plus another $9 to see the Governor's Palace).  We were not impressed with Colonial Williamsburg.  I liked the Governor's Palace though.  One-hundred and fifty buried bodies of soldiers were found behind the palace and it was determined that the palace was used as a hospital during the American Revolution.  What we did like was the 29-minute film they showed about being a Patriot starring a very young Jack Lord.  Jack played a fictitious character named John Fry who was elected and was in the House of Burgesses with Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.  Before the film, a lady taking surveys came up to Dottie and I and asked "Can you answer a couple of questions?  It will only take a minute."  I hate these kinds of things and I said "It depends if it is really only two questions."  She asked 4 to 5 questions and one of them was our age range.  She asked "26 to 44?"  I asked "What is the next category?"  And she said "45 to 65."  I said "That's the one."  She asked "Both of you?"  And I said "Yes, it's amazing isn't it?"  She replied, "it is."

We also spent some time at Jamestown, VA ($10 a person).  We liked Jamestown since it was an archaeological site.  This year is the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown (1607 - 2007).  This same year 2007 is only Oklahoma's 100th anniversary.

Had a nice sandwich for lunch just outside Colonial Williamsburg and a Hawaiian rib-eye for dinner at The Seasons.

Spent the night in Staunton, VA.  I used a wireless bridge device [provided by the hotel] in my laptop for the first time and it was so cool.  One cable connects to the USB port while the other cable connects to the LAN jack.  The device is about three inches long.  I checked my work email and had 280+ emails.

Bruton Parish Church [Episcopal] - Colonial Williamsburg, VA

My friend Charles A. Steger's 6th great grandmother Catherine Blaikley is buried behind this church in plot 26
6th - Catherine KAIDYEE born 1698 m. William BLAIKLEY at Williamsburg in 1718
5th - daughter Elizabeth BLAIKLEY m. Rev. Robert McLAURINE in 1753
4th - daughter Agnes McLAURINE m. Samuel STEGER
3rd - son Robert M. Steger

"The Silence of the Hams" - a Colonial Williamsburg smokehouse

Monument erected by the US Government [Jamestown, VA] to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the settlement (1607 - 1907)

SUNDAY November 4

Drove through the Blue Ridge Parkway and visited the Natural Bridge in VA.  Saw a few more deer.  Never have I seen so many deer and so many freshly dead deer on the roads as we saw on this trip.

Spent the night about an hour west of Nashville, TN.  We were able to listen to the Dallas Cowboys game on the radio as they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38 to 17.

Blue Ridge Parkway, George Washington National Forest, VA - south of Waynesboro, VA

Blue Ridge Parkway

We bought the new Eagles CD called Long Road Out Of Eden.  It is very good and I will say it will be nominated for a Grammy.  It is a perfect Eagles album with 20 songs on two CDs.  It may be too pretty.  The first song was about "No more walks in the woods...the trees have all been cut down."  Typical environmental whacko stuff and smug lyrics (on some other songs) from Don Henley.  It was laughable while we were driving through Blue Ridge Parkway.  Doesn't Don Henley know that Dallas, where he lives, has the largest urban forest in the US and that there are 6 billion trees in the southeast Texas area of Conroe.  Plano, Texas, used to be nothing but farm land and no trees.  Now it is nothing but homes, roads, and businesses with trees everywhere.  Henley also sings a song about the rich eating at the Petroleum Club.  Is he talking about the one in Dallas?  Hey Don, you are one of those rich guys!  A great CD, especially the title track.  The CD has hints of Crosby, Stills, and Nash and some Pink Floyd.  We also bought the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss CD.  It's good.  It's different.  There are hints of Robert Plant sounding like Led Zeppelin.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Natural Bridge, VA

Natural Bridge at night with numerous lights - digital copy of a Natural Bridge Museum postcard, copyright John Hinde Curteich

MONDAY November 5

Drove home and arrived at 8:22 PM.

I do not have an AAA or AARP membership but I do have a membership in the National Rifle Association (NRA).  They offer discounts at several hotel chains and the membership only costs $25 a year.  I paid for that membership in less than three nights in a hotel.

We bought a bunch of souvenirs and seven collector spoons for my mother.  We stopped a lot at Starbucks and ate several times at the Cracker Barrel.

I took 1,280 photographs using three digital cameras and several lenses.

The weather was fantastic and it never rained.  The temperature was 60s/70s during the day and a bit cooler at night.